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Types of Aerial Lifts

ALC - types of aerial lifts

With all of the different types of aerial lifts out there, we thought it would be a good idea to give a quick overview of each model. If you’re looking for a job as an aerial lift operator, or your current job requires some aerial lift work, knowing what to expect from different lifts is really helpful—not just for your ability to do the job right, but for your safety as well. You see, aerial lifts are incredibly powerful machines and come with many risks for the operator who hasn’t been trained. High-quality aerial lift training covers each of the different types of lifts and teaches how to operate them and how to recognize and avoid threatening situations.

What is an Aerial Lift and What is it Used for?

An aerial lift is categorized as a vehicle-mounted device that is used to elevate personnel, involving a boom platform, aerial ladder, articulating boom platform, vertical tower, or any combination of these. They are basically used to help workers access tall and hard-to-reach areas. Aerial lifts are used for electrical work on power lines, on buildings for maintenance, for window washing, tree work, and other similar tasks.

Different Types of Aerial Lifts

The different types of aerial lifts are designed with a set of specific jobs in mind – some are made for indoor work, others can handle ultra-heavy loads, and some can travel over rough terrain. Once you receive your aerial lift certification that covers all these types of boom lifts, you’ll be all set to choose the best type of aerial lift for the job and get to work with confidence.

Here are the major types of aerial lifts on the market:

Cherry Pickers

Also known simply as aerial lifts, cherry pickers are the most familiar type of aerial lift that you see around a community. They are vehicle-mounted and have a boom-supported aerial platform where operators access the work area. Cherry pickers are used in orchards for picking hard to reach produce, and for accessing utility lines and trees.

Personnel Lifts

Sometimes called people lifts, this is basically a mechanical ladder. Personnel lifts offer greater stability than regular ladders, and they’re easy to set up and store, and can approach heights of close to 50 feet. While personnel lifts may seem like simple enough tools, they still require aerial lift training to be used safely.

Articulating Boom Lifts

An ABL is a type of crane. They can position anywhere, while keeping the basket at a steady height. Designed for higher elevations, the articulating boom lift has two boom areas with hinged joints, allowing greater flexibility. With full 360-degree rotation, they’re ideal for maintenance, construction, landscaping, and other jobs that require accessing hard to reach areas. Articulating lifts are types of aerial lifts that come with certain risks. Since they are often used right up against buildings and other large, fixed objects when reaching difficult work areas, the risk of being crushed and struck by falling objects increases dramatically. Aerial lift training can prepare you to handle these types of boom lifts safely and prevent these accidents from happening.

Telescopic Boom

This lift is just like the name sounds – the work surface retracts just like a telescope. Reaching heights up to 100 feet, these lifts are used for tree trimming, large mechanical jobs, maintenance, bridge work, painting and more. Telescopic boom lifts are usually more expensive types of lift, and require thorough training before anyone can operate them to avoid doing great damage to the work zone, to the lift, and to oneself.

 Scissor Lifts

With the ability to reach up to 60 feet, scissor lifts use an accordion-style device to lift workers for painting, assembly, construction, and other jobs. They are not considered types of aerial lifts, but instead are considered scaffolding, and come with their own unique set of safety requirements regulated by OSHA and outlined in scissor lift training.

Towable Boom Lifts

Lightweight, portable and ready in an instant, towable boom lifts are great for yards, gyms, and other light industrial jobs. And, as its name suggests, they can be towed anywhere. As one of the most convenient types of boom lifts, workers often skip over safety protocols and operate towable boom lifts with a more casual mindset, which can lead to accidents and costly damage. Operators of towable boom lifts need to be just as careful as when working with other types of lifts.

The Importance of Aerial Lift Training and Certification

No matter which of the types of aerial lifts you may be operating, or will be asked to operate in the future, you’ll need the proper training to protect your life on the job and avoid hazards. Aerial lift training is essential for any operator who wants to avoid dangers and prevent injuries and fatalities from happening, and it’s the most effective way to prevent accidents.

The top hazards and accidents associated with all types of aerial lifts are:

– Falls from heights
– Objects falling from the lift
– Ejections from the platform
– Tip-overs
– Collapses of the lift
– Electrocution
– Contact with nearby and overhead objects

According to OSHA, all aerial lift operators must have proper training before they can be allowed to work on or with aerial lifts. Training must teach aspiring operators of the various hazards associated with aerial lifts and how to avoid them; how to recognize and avoid unsafe situations; correct operational techniques; when and how to perform inspections; the manufacturer’s requirements, and how to operate the lift following demonstrations of the skills and knowledge needed.

Choose ALC for OSHA-Compliant Training for All Types of Aerial Lifts

If you’re a new operator, or even if you’ve been working with aerial lifts for years, has the top quality aerial lift training you need to stay safe. Our online course is 100% compliant with all OSHA’s training requirements, and we’ve put it all into our convenient and affordable online program that can be completed in only one afternoon.

We offer 3 distinct ways to train, no matter what type of lift you work with. With Guided, Self-Paced, or Group Training, you can pick which one works for you. With any of our training options, trainees receive their own easy-to-follow online program that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. Even though it’s self-paced, our aerial lift training course can be completed in only about one hour! And once that’s done, students will be certified and prepared to operate all types of aerial lifts safely while avoiding hazards.

The class comes with lifetime access, and free three-year renewal training for life! At a cost of only $299 for the complete aerial lift and scissor lift training course, it’s the most affordable you’ll find that’s also OSHA-compliant.

For more information on how to get your aerial lift certification, go here. If you’d like to get in touch with one of our training experts, check out our contact page, or call toll-free at 1 (888) 278-8896. Thanks for reading the ALC blog!


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